Published:  02:56 AM, 12 November 2019

Xi holds talks in Greece en route to BRICS summit

Xi holds talks in Greece en route to BRICS summit A parade to mark the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in front of the imperial palace in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday. -AFP
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday holds talks in Greece, where he is eagerly awaited by the new pro-business government.  Xi touched down in Athens on Sunday at the start of a three-day visit aimed at deepening cooperation with Greece across the board.

"It is our duty to steadily upgrade our cooperation in all sectors, by delving deeply into existing fields and expanding the range of investments," the Chinese president said in an article published in "Kathimerini" newspaper on Sunday.
Xi is due to meet Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during the trip, with the two countries set to sign cooperation documents on education, shipping and energy. According to the Chinese foreign ministry, the visit to Athens will have "historical significance" for the development of China-Greece relations, and will also "inject new impetus" into the development of China-EU relations and Beijing's "Belt and Road" initiative. Greece is one of the backers of the plan for a massive network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks spanning Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe that will see trillions invested in new infrastructure across 126 countries. "Relations with Greece are a priority for China," Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told Thema radio on Thursday. "They came and invested in Greece when others stayed away" during the economic crisis, Dendias said. Xi's visit comes on the heels of a four-day trip to Shanghai by Greece's new conservative Prime Minister Mitsotakis earlier this week at the head of a delegation of more than 60 businessmen. Elected in July, Mitsotakis has made foreign investment and privatization a linchpin of his administration's policy to restore Greece's sluggish economy to growth after a grueling 10-year crisis.

"I want the first words by Greek authorities to those who come to invest to be 'how can I help you?'" said Mitsotakis, who plans to visit China again in April. Greece has been building progressively closer trade relations with China for more than a decade, spearheaded by a 2008 deal by a previous conservative government to cede container terminals at the main port of Piraeus to Chinese shipping giant Cosco.  - AFP, Athens

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